Shopping sure has changed since I was a child. Waaay back then, you took the bus downown (or walked the five miles if it was a nice day) and walked from store to store with your shopping bag, if you remembered to bring it.
Christmas shopping was much like it was portrayed in the movie, A Christmas Story, and for my family, Hollywood’s Higbee’s department store was Hudson’s over in Detroit – a short drive over the bridge for us. Hudson’s was an old towering stone building downtown on Woodward, with several floors devoted entirely to toys at Christmas, and Santa!. It was more than enough to fuel our imaginations – myself and my two brothers – for the weeks leading up to Christmas. It closed in 1983.
I don’t know if my parents were ever admonished to “Shop at home!” The economy seemed pretty good at the time – the Detroit/Windsor area was still the auto manufacturing kingdom of North America and the downtowns of both cities were always bustling. It was the only time of the year we visited Detroit, and we probably did more looking than actual buying.
There was no internet in those days. Heck, coloured TVs were just starting to show up in houses of the local upper crust.
No longer forced to shop locally because of travel constraints, consumers can shop online, shop over the phone or just drive to the nearest border town. Now there are online sites to “help” consumers choose their over-the-border shopping wisely.
I’ve lost track of how many people over the years have told me about the great deal they got south of the border, or how much cheaper something was.
I guess I’m lucky in that I don’t have to go out the country to save money. I know that I’m supporting Canadian workers.
Even better, when I shop in Ashcroft or Cache Creek, or Clinton or Lytton, I know that I’m supporting local workers and the local economy – and if you don’t know that our local economies are suffering, you haven’t been paying attention for the past 10 years or more.
Before you go abroad looking for a deal, consider the costs of it to your town.
Wendy Coomber is the editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal